So this is part of my fodder system set up. I have two racks like this. The top three racks have dishpans that we burned 16 equally spaced holes in the bottom of. Those three hold fodder and then the bottom one has no holes. We push the rack up to the sink and pull out the spray nozzle and flood the top tray and then the water trickles down to be collected in the bucket. I can put the dishpans on the rack in the other direction and would be able to fit 8 containers instead of just four. Eventually I think I will likely do that. One pound of barley seeds can grow into 6 pounds of fodder in 8 days. It might be less under non-optimal conditions.
I have six adult rabbits, so half of one six pound pan of fodder is enough to feed the adults. But with all the kits, I imagine I will need a lot more at various times throughout the grow out stages. Thirteen kits are between 5 and 8 pounds, so they need at least a quarter pound of fodder each. Then fifteen kits are between 1.5 to 3.5 pounds, so approximately 1/8 of a pound of fodder for each of them. The fourteen 2.5 week olds are just starting to nibble on hay and show curiosity about pellets, so I’m not much concerned about them yet,. They can nibble on their mothers’ portions until they get a bit bigger. But they will get bigger. So definitely we could have 2 pans a day going at some point very soon. If we decide to put the chickens into the equation we’d need to buy another rack and some more pans.
The two containers of fodder that I started with are beginning to feel quite heavy. There is 2 inches of root mat and 3 inches of green right now. That should double by morning. And then on the morning of the 8th day it will be ready to be fed to them. I will have to cut it up with a really good knife. The mat is thick. I am going to weigh the results on my kitchen scale before I feed it to them. That will also help me to cut it into the right size portions, too.
There is a lot of solidity to the fodder. The stalks are very sturdy. They feel sort of like rubber as opposed to regular grass. They are definitely stronger and bigger in size than the bins of wheat grass they sell at the grocery store. They are supposed to have a lot more nutrition than wheat as well.
All of the rabbits are doing well right now despite the severity of the cold. They are eating a lot more, I’m sure to help keep them warm. Well, the kits are eating more because they are getting bigger, too. The biggest of the kits are going a bit stir crazy. We let them down on the floor of the rabbit shed to run around. They really liked that. I wish we could let them go outside in the tractors, but the ground is frozen solid and the wind is very bad. It would be worse for them right now.
I do hope it thaws enough to use the hose again soon. The dropping trays really could use a good spray off. Right now we are just scraping them, but that doesn’t do as good a job. We are being a bit more liberal with the hay and straw to keep the smell down and I am washing down the cage floors with hot, soapy water and a bristle brush that I carry out to the shed and then dumping rinse water over them and then emptying out the dropping pans, but that is not optimal. Thorough hose rinsing after washing is optimal. We need to do thorough cleanings of Phoebe and Andromeda’s cages no later than the 9th. They are due on the 16th and I want them settled in completely clean cages by then. Next Tuesday and Wednesday are supposed to be in the low 40’s. That’s a little longer than I want to wait, but I don’t have much choice if the hose is froze and it won’t thaw until it gets to around 38 which it does not appear to want to do sooner than that according to the weather report.
The chickens are mostly hanging out in or near the coop. They are annoyed that they can’t scratch up the ground, but are very happy every time I take a bin of hay and rabbit manure to the compost heap. In fact a couple of them are digging holes in the compost and settling into them like they are on nests. There must be heat coming up from the working portion of the heap. This is the coldest it has been since we started raising chickens so I am keeping a sharp eye on their combs and I have some petroleum jelly ready to coat them if there is even a hint of frostbite. Hopefully that won’t be an issue, but we’ll have some nights in the mid-teens during the next week so it’s a very real threat.